Open faced pesto omelet with kale and cherry tomatoes

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Not all mornings are created equal. And yet, it’s the way we handle them that can set the tone for the rest of the day. For me, the majority of my days start the same; I wake up at 5am, go to crossfit from 6-7am, shower and head to a long day of work followed by grad-school or yoga. I’m running a tight ship in the mornings, so I have to be pretty planful on what I’m bringing with me to eat, to make sure that I can get something healthy and nutritious to start my day. Planning, time-constraints, constantly on the go, these are the areas that I’m good at. This post is not about that.
My schedule switches around from time to time with work, and today was one of those days. I had the morning off and decided to try and slow my life down (something I’m terrible at) and sleep in, go to a later crossfit class and just enjoy the morning before I had to go into work for noon.
I went to crossfit and had a tough class. I felt awful leaving, and, because I had nothing planned, free reign, I went down the street to the local orchard with one thing on my mind…comfort food. I walk in there prepared to buy the whole display of freshly baked pies and cider donuts. Instead, I walk out with a grapefruit and a gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free pumpkin cupcake. I look at the cupcake, which I’m sure sounds like the most ridiculous type of treat to a lot of people, and I actually don’t even want it anymore.
My life, constantly on the go, has left little time for patience with myself. It feels like a whirl-wind where the tiniest slip up can send everything crashing to the ground. When, in actuality, that isn’t the case. Talking to a good friend pulled me back into reality; she grounded me again. Some days just aren’t good, and those are the days which it’s hardest to keep all the good things in perspective. It’s hard to hold it together all the time. And well, that okay. You just keep working hard, because the alternative is to stop and that’s just silly.
So I came home, put my cupcake in the fridge (I will still eat it, just at a time I can actually enjoy it) and decided to make myself a delicious breakfast. I knew cooking would make me feel better, and eating a hearty, nutritious breakfast would reset my off morning and set me up for a much better day.

Open faced pesto omelet with kale and cherry tomatoes
¾ cup organic cage-free egg whites (about 6 egg whites)
1 cup organic kale, washed and roughly chopped
About 6 organic grape tomatoes, quartered
1 tsp organic basil pesto (it’s easy to make your own, but I keep a jar on hand just to add a quick little bit to the occasional recipe, but if you have time to make your own, by all means!!)
Organic extra virgin coconut oil (I use the spray when cooking eggs, but you can use a little of the regular stuff, or even olive oil or your favorite other cooking spray)

Directions:
Heat a medium sized skillet on low to medium, spray with coconut oil
Sauté quartered tomatoes for a minute or two and add the kale. Continue to cook until kale is wilted.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl add 1 tsp of basil pesto to egg whites and whisk together.
Turn your pan down to low, give it a minute to come down in temperature, and then pour the egg white mixture over the kale and tomato mixture.
Cover the skillet (I just use my largest pot’s lid since my skillet doesn’t come with a cover, 🙂 Improvise!)
Let cook about 5 minutes or until the top of the egg is set. (Be patient, and don’t turn up the heat to make it cook faster because the bottom will burn! By covering it, the steam will help cook the top and you won’t have to flip it!)
And that’s it, just slide it out onto your plate and enjoy 🙂

Coconut banana chocolate protein pancakes

Part of what I love about cooking is how much flexibility I have with my food.  I can open my fridge and just create dishes from what I have on hand, throwing a little of this, and a little of that to build flavorful meals.  So when it comes to baking, or anything where ratios and measurements are concerned, I tend to shy away.  I like getting the occasional inspiration from recipes, but not following them.

This is something I’m trying to change my mind set about.  Measuring shouldn’t be my enemy, and I can still make recipes “my own” while following someone else’s direction.  So I wanted to try out something I hadn’t made before, protein pancakes.  My view of pancakes was always that the batter was a difficult thing to perfect.   You were either using a box mix (no thank you), or measuring out ingredients exactly (yikes), or you were ending up with a disaster.  I’m actually not a huge fan of regular pancakes, they leave me feeling too full and weighed down, but this healthier version piqued my interest and I decided to start researching it.

In looking around the internet at recipes I realized that most of them all had similar base ingredients and similar ratios.  Happily, I decided to compile a general outline to follow and then decided to put my own twist on them.

The result: Coconut banana chocolate protein pancakes, drizzled with honey, natural peanut butter and dark chocolate dreams peanut butter.  A-MAZ-ING.

Coconut banana chocolate protein pancakes

I’ve decided to count this as a positive step and compromise in my fear towards recipes and a hopeful move in the direction of easing my fear of baking.  😉 There will be more experiments to come I’m sure!

Here’s what I used:

1 scoop protein powder (I use Garden of Life Organic Raw Cocoa Protein)

½ cup egg whites

½ organic banana

¼ cup organic oats

1 TBS organic coconut flour

1/8 cup (Silk) coconut milk

1/8 TBS baking soda

2 dashes of cinnamon (optional)

Dash of nutmeg (optional)

Blend it all together.  You can use a regular blender or I used my smoothie blender cup (kind of like a magic bullet but cheaper haha)

Cook over medium low heat in a skillet sprayed with coconut oil.  You know they’re ready to flip when bubbles start to form and pop!  This made 3 decent sized pancakes for me, and yes, I ate them all. 

I finished them off with a drizzle of honey, and then melted in the microwave a healthy tablespoon of Whole Foods fresh ground natural peanut butter and Peanut Butter & Co Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter.  Simply delicious!!

Don’t Forget…The Oven!

For a lot of people, the oven can evoke thoughts of baked goods like warm chocolate chip cookies and mom’s flaky pie crust, or bubbling cheeses and creamy casseroles.  Not exactly daily healthy foods. But the oven is one of my favorite modes of cooking.  Roasting, baking, broiling, braising…all amazingly simple ways to cook healthy foods.  The flavors become more concentrated and something like a sweet potato, that someone might normally throw a ton of butter or brown sugar on, if you roast them in the oven long enough, their own natural sugars start to caramelize and you don’t need all that extra stuff on top.  I usually just dash mine with some cinnamon and they’re good to go!

While it may seem like using the oven can take much longer than other ways to make food, that extra time is actually the best part about it!  You can essentially throw the food in the oven and continue to be productive around the house.  There’s no standing over the stove tossing or stirring.  Just be smart about planning your oven time and you’ll find that it can truly work in your favor.

A perfect example of this was my breakfast this morning.  I know, cooking breakfast? On a weekday? In the OVEN? Sounds crazy but its really not.  I was up at 6am to get to the gym and on my way home I was thinking about what to eat for breakfast.  I always have a smorgasbord or veggies in my fridge, always have eggs handy, so I decided to make some egg white muffins!  I’ll put the recipe in a separate post, but let me walk you through how easy this was.  I get home and turn the oven on.  While that’s preheating I grab a few veggies, chop them up; separate out my egg whites, and start assembling.  By that time the oven is pre-heated and I can just throw them in, set the timer and walk away! I was able to take a shower, and get completely ready for work while they were cooking.  The little delights ended up being ready about 10 minutes before I was going to leave so I took them out to cool off for a bit.  I tossed two of the muffins in a ziplock baggie on my way out the door, and breakfast is served! Plus I have 2 leftover for tomorrows breakfast too!

So don’t forget… the oven doesn’t have to just mean desserts, or savory dinners.  The oven is a lot more versatile and hectic life friendly than you’d think, you just have to know the right ways to utilize it!

Egg White Muffins

Egg White Muffins

These egg white muffins are incredibly simple to make and great for an on the go breakfast. In this version I used about 1/4 cup organic baby spinach, 1/4 cup white mushrooms, and a small piece of red bell pepper all chopped and mixed together for my filling. To make 4 egg muffins I use 8 egg whites (2 whites per muffin tin space) and i seasoned the whites with Mrs. Dash salt free seasoning and some italian seasoning.
To assemble: I use extra virgin organic coconut oil spray to coat the muffin tin (but any nonstick spray will work) and then divide up my veggie mixture evenly between the 4 slots. Whisk the egg whites with a fork until you see tiny bubbles start to form. Then pour the whites over the veggies and bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes or until set. Take them out of the muffin tin to cool and there you have it! I eat 2 muffins as a serving, so there’s leftovers for breakfast tomorrow too!! Yum!